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Ohio outlaws nearly all early voting

Ohio outlaws nearly all early voting
Ohio outlaws nearly all early voting
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Ohio voters have had nearly all of their early voting access outlawed. Sweeping legislation has left voting only on Election Day and 2 Saturdays, excluding evenings.

In a straight party-line vote on Wednesday, Ohio Republicans passed a bill to stop mailing absentee ballots and has the potential to stop provisional ballots from being counted. Early voting the week before Election Day has also been banned, and same-day voter registration has also been outlawed.

The state has also eliminated about one-third of the state’s polling places and voting machines.

Republican Gov. John Kasich has already signed two highly restrictive voting laws and is expected to sign a third bill that effectively outlaws almost all early voting in Ohio.

According to The Nation, “In 2004, Ohio had the longest lines in the country on Election Day, with some voters—particularly in large urban areas—waiting as long as seven hours to vote. A DNC survey estimated that 174,000 Ohioans—3 percent of the state’s electorate—left without voting. George W. Bush won the state by just 118,000 votes.”

Long lines are likely to return to Ohio, with the potential to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legally eligible voters.

This latest round of restricted voting laws point to a concerted Republican effort to rig the next election in their favor, since lower vote counts generally favor Republicans, and Democrats do well among early voters.

Fewer Americans identify with the GOP, the lowest in 25 years, according to recent Gallup polling data. Therefore, voter suppression may be the only hope Republicans have of winning future elections.

The Republican war on women and refusal to address immigration reform has pushed millions of voters away from the myopic views of the Republican Party.

Middle-class voters also see little reason to vote for candidates promoting austerity for them and more tax cuts for the wealthy. Hate speech has also become part of the Republican brand, which does not appeal to mainstream voters.

Republican candidates that were elected with the promise of creating jobs have also fallen short. With a focus on anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-food stamp legislation, job creation has been ignored.

Ohio State Rep. Nina Turner announced on MSNBC on Wednesday, that she has filed a lawsuit to stop Ohio’s new voter suppression laws.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.

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